Northwest Film Forum gets an overhaul during August intermission

12th Ave indie film house and cinema community center the Northwest Film Forum is taking an intermission this month while the space gets a much needed facelift. Work is currently underway at the theater and facility is to expand the lobby and add a new concession counter and box office.

All four cinema doors are also getting swapped out for oak-core doors, which NWFF says will dramatically improve the theater’s soundproofing. Exterior renovations will setup work for a new awning to be installed in the fall. The renovations are being partially funded through the city’s Office of Arts & Culture. Continue reading

Capitol Hill photographer captures ‘The Pretty and the Gritty’ of Seattle

Durkan on his Broadway home turf (Image: CHS)

Durkan on his Broadway home turf (Image: CHS)

The newest collection of Capitol Hill photographer Tim Durkan’s work can be seen at 12th Ave Arts this month, allowing the viewer to experience the evoked emotions of seeing Seattle both in its expected beauty of Space Needle moons and ferry boats, and the city streets in the raw. The show makes a good stop during Thursday night’s August Capitol Hill Art Walk.

“The show is really about the many sides of Seattle,” Durkan told CHS about the 12th Ave Arts exhibition in an interview at his regular hangout, Cafe Solstice at 10th and Thomas. “I’ve seen people say ‘hey, your pictures are beautiful, they’ve really helped me make up my mind and I’m going to move to Seattle.’ and that’s awesome, but there’s this other side of this city that’s important, that seldom gets told and that’s the gritty. Homelessness is an issue that I care a lot about, especially as it relates to addiction.” Continue reading

Stumptown to stop roasting coffee on 12th Ave

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

A pillar of Capitol Hill’s cafe scene is ending its coffee roasting operation on 12th Ave. Sprudge broke the news Tuesday that Portland-based Stumptown Coffee will shut down the roasters at its Capitol Hill shop that opened in 2007. The decision will end the Portland-based company’s days of roasting beans in Seattle.

A person familiar with the move told CHS that ongoing issues with the shop’s old building and plans for Seattle University development in the area factored into the decision. Ten stories of office and dorms are planned to rise above the coffee shop as part of the private university’s expansion plan. We have questions out to Stumptown about the future of the coffee shop and how Seattle U’s plans will impact their operations.

UPDATE: Stumptown vice president Matt Loundsbury told CHS that in addition to having no space for a much needed new roaster, roasting on 12th Ave would become impossible amid Seattle U’s expansion. “What we understand the plans to be will make it really hard to do what we do,” he said. Continue reading

‘Out of left field,’ Lark joins the Capitol Hill pizza boom with 12th Ave plans for Southpaw

Lark’s ownership trio — Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan (Image: CHS)

Lark’s ownership trio — Sundstrom, J.M. Enos, and Kelly Ronan (Image: CHS)

We’ve heard owners explain it with their passion for pizza pies. We’ve heard others talk about profit margins. Whatever it is, CHS’s prophecy of a pizza joint opening every two blocks across Capitol Hill is coming true.

The latest announcement of pizza plans comes from longtime Capitol Hill restauranteur John Sundstrom and business partners Kelly Ronan and JM Enos who are planning to turn the original home of Lark on 12th Ave into wood-fired pizza joint Southpaw:

The name is a nod to all things unorthodox—batting left-handed, a left-handed boxer’s stance, and pizzas that are somewhere in-between Neapolitan and New York style, with familiar toppings as well as some out of left field.
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Design firm files for bankruptcy after leasing Capitol Hill office to The Real World

The Ballou Wright building on 12th Ave. (Image: Hunters Capital via Facebook)

The Ballou Wright building on 12th Ave. (Image: Hunters Capital via Facebook)

Facing around $2.6 million in debt, a Seattle digital design firm has filed for bankruptcy shortly after renting its 12th Ave office to serve as the reality TV home for the cast of The Real World.

According to documents filed in federal bankruptcy court, Creature owes money to 50-100 creditors, most of which are other media companies. ESPN Magazine, AOL, and Vox Media are each owed more than $100,000, according to Creature’s filings. Creature reported $8.6 million in gross revenue for 2015 and currently has $600,000 in assets.
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Peek inside 12th Ave’s shuttered plumbing shop to see this art installation

A temporary art installation has popped up behind the boarded up windows of a longtime plumbing business on 12th Ave. You can’t go inside, but a dozen holes drilled into the outside of the soon-to-be demolished house offer several vantage points of the diorama.

Developers of a mixed-use project that will replace the structure opened the house to artists from the Seattle Demo Project. Over the course of one recent Saturday the artists used some of the materials left behind by Jay Frees Plumbing and Heating to create the installation.

“We wanted to use elements from the plumbing shop,” said artist Max Bemberg. “It just looks like this tiny house, but it has a weird history to it.” The group was behind the 2015 project in the Central DistrictWe are the Ghosts.

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Capitol Hill Housing shares development award with city

Everybody gets a trophy. Capitol Hill Housing's Chris Person unveils the award given to City Hall Friday

Everybody gets a trophy. Capitol Hill Housing’s Chris Persons unveils the award presented Friday to Office of Housing director Steve Walker (Image: CHS)

As the August 2 deadline for voters to approve the proposed $290 million housing levy approaches, affordable housing nonprofit Capitol Hill Housing is recognizing the city for its accomplishments with the 2009 levy, which will expire at the end of this year.

12th Ave Arts, developed by CHH, was awarded the Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence in 2015. CHH was given the option to receive a second award and chose to share it with the Office of Housing for its help in creating the development’s affordable housing. The award was presented at a small ceremony in the 12th Ave Arts lobby on Friday.

“We couldn’t have done this project without their support,” said CHH CEO Christopher Persons.

The residential part of 12th Ave Arts includes 88 units of affordable housing. The development was funded in part through Low Income Housing Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits, and the 2009 housing levy was the largest source of funding for the building’s affordable housing. Office of Housing director Steve Walker called the project “an excellent example of the Seattle Housing Levy at work.”

Walker said that the upcoming housing levy vote was critical to continuing to create much-needed affordable housing in Seattle. “We are dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure on affordability on housing in our city,” said Walker. “The levy has been this foundational piece for 35 years.”

Black Lives Matter marches to Capitol Hill to protest police killings


As the nation reacted to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s speech in Cleveland, a large protest marched through downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill Thursday to speak out against police violence toward the black community.

“I’m sick of white supremacy,” said one 19-year-old woman as the group of hundreds of marchers circled up for a session of statements at 12th and Pine in front of the East Precinct headquarters. “I’m mourning children I haven’t even conceived yet.”

“They see our skin as a weapon,” said another. Continue reading

Bike rider suffers serious leg injury in 12th Ave collision

A bike rider suffered a serious lower leg injury after being struck by a driver in the 1700 block of 12th Ave Monday night.

According to preliminary reports from Seattle Fire units at the scene, the woman in her 40s was struck by a vehicle being driven on 12th Ave near E Olive St around 7:15 PM. The rider suffered a serious “open fracture” ankle injury but remained conscious during the medical response. She was transported to Harborview for treatment.

Seattle Police were on the scene to investigate the collision. Traffic was diverted in the area during the response.

Why these Capitol Hill businesses signed MTV’s Real World agreement

That dude asking if they have “espresso” at Kaladi Brothers while a camera crew waits outside? Reality TV star. Same with that woman checking out the produce at Central Co-op. Where the guests of MTV’s Real World come and go around Capitol Hill has a lot to do with which restaurants, bars, apothecaries, shoe stores, and co-ops have and have not signed the production’s contract.

It’s a powerful document when it comes to reality:

Producer shall have the right to refer to the Property by its actual name or any fictitious name, and the right to attribute actual or fictitious events as occurring on the Property, and the right to replicate the Property and use such replication in Producer’s sole discretion.

We’ve already heard from some of the Capitol Hill businesses who said no — sometimes emphatically. Here’s why some have said yes.

“We’re not going to turn business away from anyone,” a Cupcake Royale manager told CHS about the production. The crew has already filmed in Cupcake Royale several times without incident. The manager said they have called ahead every time and “seem nice.” Continue reading

PALMS, Northwest Film Forum’s biggest performance yet

13509112_10155074553039012_3529820825261728559_nPart of the venue’s new focus on live performance, the “dance, music, poetry, and architectural design” PALMS will premiere at the Northwest Film Forum Thursday for a short run on 12th Ave. The hour-long live show that started out as a creative exercise has flourished into a production that has sold out the 118-seat theater for opening night.

PALMS is an abstract representation of a wild animal turning into a woman. Choreographer Paige Barnes said the idea for the show was born 18 months ago when Barnes, dancer Nadia Losonsky, and poet Vanessa DeWolf started getting together and creating snippets of work in response to each other’s art as a way to stay engaged with the creative process. After about a month and a half of the exercises, Barnes said the final product began to emerge.

“I wanted to create that caged bird feeling,” Barnes said. “She’s blocked in by the sound, by the space, by her hands in her pockets.” Continue reading

MTV asks Capitol Hill business owners to sign Real World filming agreements

Third season "star" and arguably part of the disturbing reason the show continues to be made Puck and MTV have aged (Image: CHS)

Third season “star” Puck and MTV have aged. We don’t know what the new cast looks like but we guarantee they look better than Puck. (Image: MTV)

As filming for the 32nd season of MTV’s The Real World has begun, several businesses near the show’s set on 12th Ave in the Ballou Wright building have already been asked to sign filming agreements. Some are hesitant.

Eltana owner Stephen Brown was approached with a contract, and said turning MTV’s request for filming down flat was an “easy call.” Brown threw out the filming contract, which he said was a one-sided deal.

“Even if it was fair we would not do it,” said Brown, describing the show as dumb, unpopular, disruptive, and off-brand. Eltana has no current plans to ban participants, however. Brown said Eltana “will let anyone in who is a customer and not disruptive.” Continue reading